February 9, 2011

Evening Musings

I've been pondering notions of success and failure a lot these days. What are indicators of success? Financial stability? Popularity? Purpose driven work? If others perceive you to be "successful" does that mean you are in fact successful?

Truth be told, with my new life as a self-employed business owner, that fine line between success and failure feels forever omnipresent - as though I'm always just a hair away from big success or tremendous failure. Should we come to terms with failure as a possibility or stick to the kick-in-the-butt notion that failure is not an option?

Would love to hear your thoughts as I muse this evening...

*poster via here


Anonymous said...

If you're doing what you love, how can you ever fail? Hope you're having a fabulous first couple of weeks in San Fran! xo

Anonymous said...

Thats a great point. hmm...These are things that I always think about too. A lot of times, I end up settling on the fact that if I didn't try at all--that would be failure. When it comes to other things in my life, I always try to remember that even though I may want "more", its so important to be thankful and grateful for what I do have--and I try to remember that over everything else.

Melanie's Randomness said...

I think failure is an option unfortunately but you just moved, rue just started, and you have time ahead of you to play all your cards! It's the beginning!! I don't think failure is an option in the beginning of a new adventure. You gotta keep your wits up, your eyes open, and let your ideas run wild. I wish you all the best of luck!! =)

Melanie's Randomness

Gina @ Temporary Nest said...

This really hit home with me... I've been thinking more and more about success vs failure too. But I think a good portion of it is by choice. You can persevere and succeed through it all or you can choose to quit. Don't quit because you aren't failing. I know that to a lot of us... you are a great inspiration. So, i think you've already been pretty sucessful.

Drew {Coral Cafe} said...

Failure is not an option! ;) If you work hard, do your best and believe in the positive, you will never have a failing mindset. You have to believe in yourself and the work you create. And above all, pray about it! ;) There's a reason you are where you are. And tons of people see that. So whenever you have a doubt, just remember in the beginning what you were striving for and keep it going. Always aspire to better than you already are!

Love your Magazine! I aspire to be a part of one someday and share designs to inspire others!


Lauren said...

Great thoughts crystal. I know you will succeed. Having met you, there's just something really special about you and I know you'll make it happen.

Big hug,

Unknown said...

I believe failure is not giving it your all, not trying your hardest, not pursuing your dreams, not having the courage to let you brighter self shine... and succes is trying your hardets, giving it your all, letting you better self shine, pursuing your dreams...and you dear are doing all this.. so in my book you are already successful... even if it works the way you want it or not you are already on the successful track and is beautiful seing it from aside!!! and those feelings that you have are probably because you are constantly working out of your comfort zone.. and that is the way we should all live!!!! best best wishes!!!

La Boheme said...

Although I ALWAYS look at the bright side, it is important to be realistic and sometimes just weight in on what we are doing and how are we doing in life. If you love what you do however, anything is possible and success will come :) It is about not stopping and moving forward. Hope you are well this evening, it is a beautiful night here in San Francisco, no? hugs

gina said...

I am realistic enough to know that failure is a possibility, but it is not an option for me. I don't want to focus on the failure because I feel like it will only hold me back from success!

I too am a small business owner/self employed person and I often have to put the idea of failure out of my mind.

Crystal @ Plush Palate said...

Wow, great comments here gals! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on success vs. failure! I think Sasha hit the nail on the head - I could not agree with her more!

I didn't mean to make it sound like I have doubts :) It's the opposite, I believe whole-heartedly in myself, my team, and our business endeavors. If I didn't, I wouldn't be doing it!

Nonetheless, it's an interesting topic to ponder. I'm learning that perspective is the big secret to life...our experience depends on how we choose to see it. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! Keep 'em coming!

luxe + lillies said...

I graduated from College last year, and with a pretty bleak outlook, but a million ideas in my head... I went down my own road and started by little business.

I think you should know your not the only one who feels that way every day! Some days your up, some days you down.

As long as you're waking up every day and still loving the leap you took, and the decision you made - there is no failure in that. You seem very determined, and I think because of this, you instinctually will do everything in your power that you never fail [ really, I believe your down a path moving towards even bigger things!]

As for success, I think in this business its easy to get swept into the idea that success comes with notoriety, being published, mentioned by this person or that- but at the end of the day, I go to sleep counting all the blessings in my life, and thats the true measure of success!

Victoria | vmac+cheese said...

The thing is, I think that fear of failure is what keeps so many of us from actually pursuing our dreams. How does that quote go? You shouldn't feel failure, you should fear not trying. Failure IS always an option, but we have to remember that there are positives in everything, and that it's our mistakes that help us grow and learn and make life interesting! I also believe that you can never really fail at something if you never give up on it.

Success is such a funny, subjective thing, isn't it? Ultimately, you have to live with your own decisions, so you might as well create a path that fits YOU, if that makes sense. As long as you're happy with the life you've created, I consider that successful. :)

marjorie rose said...

We all define success differently.

Make sure you know your own definition.

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

I've also thought a lot about this kind of stuff lately and I think it's quite a personal thing.

I think it's great to see success as pursuing your dreams--and this will likely lead to personal fulfillment--but the truth is we also need to eat, so if it's a business thing whatever you're doing has to be rewarding AND pay the bills. Or at least it does for me!

Being able to do what you love and have it afford you the lifestyle you want is success to me. My husband started his own business not too long ago, and I've recently launched a part time freelance career, and I think these notions apply much more when you take that leap of faith of doing things on your own and not having the security of an employer paycheck every week.

That said, I think we all fail sometimes--or stumble. Mistakes are an option but I think I operate better with the mindset that absolute failure really isn't. I'd try something else before finally reaching that point (and I don't see cutting your losses as failure, just smart in some situations). And I do agree that mindset is 90% of the battle.

Sorry for rambling!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Setting my own day and loving what I do is success to me!

LiveLikeYou said...

A life driven by fear is an unsuccessful one. A life where you take chances and follow your heart whether they work out or not, keep your priorities in order, stay kind and help others is a successful life.

Unknown said...

as long as u give it ur all - it'll never be an option - even if it doesn't work out the way u expected - things ALWAYS work out the way they are suppose to!

*kiss kiss*
~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Jess LC said...

I don't think that money actually has anything to do with success or failure - not that you did either - but it is many times a looming indicator for a lot of people. While starting a business, it is essential in order to continue to grow the business or pursue the purpose, it is like fuel, if you will, and therefore really important.

But I've found as I've grown my own business, that as money fades into the background and becomes relatively less worrisome, the real test of success is how well I've been able to develop and grow my business into something that provides purpose, meaning, and touches people's lives. That impact is success - I could have done many things to just earn more money or have a bigger business- but if it didn't provide purpose and meaning, then I think as a self-employed person, I kind of failed at the whole point.

Do what you love and keep doing it. The fact that money may be an issue throughout that journey is an undeniable fact, but doesn't need to enter the success/failure equation.

Love you! :)

The Iconic Blog said...

It is usually best to be working for yourself and creating success then spending your life creating success for someone else.x

Lisa said...

I think the only way you ever really fail is by not doing anything at all. Even if Attempt #1 doesn't work out the way you plan, that experience shapes Attempt #2 that does work. In black and white terms, yes, Attempt #1 was a failure. But without it, you wouldn't have Attempt #2, so it's really not a failure at all — just time spent researching and refining what you do.

I think success is really a personal thing — as long as you feel successful, you are successful. We all determine our own benchmarks for success, whether it be the traditional approach of making a certain amount of money or gaining a certain number of readers, or the less measurable approach of making sure we are happy with a certain percentage of our day-to-day lives.

I didn't mean to go on so long, but this is a really interesting topic! Thanks for bringing it to discussion.

Megan Monique said...

I believe success should be determined on our own terms - not what society thinks.

Failure doesn't exist to me. Just another way I learned that doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Wow, LOVE this discussion!
Personally, I feel like success = happiness in whatever you're doing. If you're passionate about what you're doing and can make a living doing it, then that is success. And the fear of failure is just a motivator and a driving force to push you forward to evolve and grow.
Crystal, I think you are such a wonderful example of a success story...and you are inspiring us all by what you're doing! I quit my job almost a year ago and then decided to start a blog to expand my creative horizons...and watching Rue grow and learning about this whole wonderful world of blogging has been such an eye opener for me. I truly admire you and the rest of the Rue team!


one sydney road said...

Crystal, thanks for posting this. It's something I think about alot now that I'm self-employed. I think we all want that recipe for success...but we all have different versions of what success is for us. For me it's about doing something I love and having freedom - of course at the end of the day I still need to pay my bills! I really admire what you've done and what you're doing. To me, you're a role model!!

Roxy Te said...

It's easy to subsribe to the "kick butt" notion, but as I get ready to start my own business (yayay :) the reality that failure is an option sets in more and more everyday. Although I'm super scared, I also wouldn't trade the beauty of the unknown and potential possibilities for my old desk and cubicle at corporate! Hopefully I'll be able to pay my bills! ahhh! p.s. You and the entire Rue crew are a true inspiration :)

Brittany @ The Aubergine Notebook said...

i suppose it depends on your definition of failure. i think our society has embedded in us that making mistakes or having things not work out according to plan is failure but i disagree. i think failure is giving up and not getting back up when you fall. starting a business can and is very scary. i can definitely relate. the fact of the matter is you may not get everything right the first time but if you keep getting back up and trying, you are a success. i have no doubt that you are and will be incredibly successful. you have great ideas and drive. i'm sure you will be amazingly happy with what you've accomplished.

hannah said...

wow, what a great conversation.

I feel failure the most when I give in to this mindset "I should do x but I can't because of Y." When I look at all the reasons why I can't get to where I want, NEED, to be because of some present circumstance. There's always a way, whether it is making a sacrifice somewhere or asking for help. The more I take the risk and go for something I really, really, long for, the more I learn, there is a net there when I leap.

SO much easier said than done, but it's those moments when I make something happen that I feel like a success and it is in the moments when I'm afraid to take a necessary risk that I feel like a failure.

Sometimes, I need to give up where I am to get where I'm going.

Tobe @ Two Tall Blondes said...

failure is relative. i think the only times we really fail are 1) when we let others define it for us, and 2) we lose integrity.

otherwise, they're all just necessary steps to get us where we're meant to be.

love hearing so many perspectives on the topic!

Unknown said...

Great conversation topic! It's been so fascinating to read through everyone's comments. As a young and probably naive soon-to-be college graduate, my definition of success includes doing something that makes me happy, that helps or inspires others, and that allows me the freedom of financial independence.

That definition is of course subject to change — and I'm sure it will over the next year or two as I try to figure out where I want to be and what I want to do. For the time being, success means going forth with courage and optimism, as ready as I can be for whatever comes next.

Cathy said...

Mackenzie, I don't think you're naive. I've been in the working world for a few years and know exactly how you feel. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. I don't think money is an indication of sucess. Raising a family and having a purpose-filled job would be pretty darn successful to me. Being paid well to do what I love would be a nice bonus.

Arianna Belle said...

Great topic! This reminds me of an excerpt from The Power of Now written one of my favorite authors Eckhart Tolle in which he answers the question:

Does it matter ...whether we succeed or fail in the world?

It will matter to you as long as you haven't realized your inner purpose. After that, the outer purpose is just a game that you may continue to play simply because you enjoy it. It is also possible to fail completely in your outer purpose and at the same time totally succeed in your inner purpose. Or the other way around, which is actually more common: outer riches and inner poverty, or to "gain the world and lose your soul," as Jesus puts it. Ultimately, of course, every outer purpose is doomed to "fail" sooner or later, simply because it is subject to the law of impermanence of all things. The sooner you realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important to be optimistic about success and always strive for it - but without failure, there is no such thing. So I think it's always a good thing to remember the prospect of failure, even if it doesn't seem all together likely. Sort of like the Roman 'All Glory is Fleeting' story. Your successes may seem steady, but it's good to remember where you came from and remember the value of what you have - not loose your head in thinking you're above falling : ) I suppose having a dose of humility is a good way to keep a balance.

Of course, failure sometimes bring us to our best successes. I suppose it's only in the very end that we can say whether we've succeeded or failed.

Success to me is being happy with what I am doing, and being able to support myself and my loved ones independently. For other people to appreciate what I do and who I am, and basically be the best I can be. : )

Style Maniac said...

Just listened to the podcast interview of you and Ann on The Skirted Roundtable. Pretty sure success is going to continue coming your way--how could it not when you're smart, stylish, have such a clear vision and wonderful partnership.

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